Friday, April 30, 2010

Browser Compatibility

We have recently had two members make contact to inform us that they are unhappy with their page layout. In both cases, they referred to there being no spacing between headers and paragraphs.

We discovered that this occurs when the browser used is a much older version of Internet Explorer in which case there are two simple fixes to choose from, download the latest version of Internet Explorer or, switch to Firefox. Both are free downloads and internet users are advised to ensure that browser software is kept updated.

As a Firefox user myself (have been for over two years), I can without hesitation recommend it.

Ernest Roper


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Value Of Building Plans Passed For 2010.

The value of building plans passed by a number of larger municipalities during January and February 2010 declined by 4.7% to R8.4bn, compared with the same period last year according to Statistics SA.

The largest decrease was for non- residential buildings, which fell 26.4 % or R635million. The value of residential plans passed declined by 10% or R391.1million. The downturn was however somewhat softened by the growth for additions and alterations which rose 25% to R616million.

Based on the real value of building plans passed by larger Municipalities during 2005 and seasonally adjusted, peaked at R7billion at end of 2007, at end of December 2009 it declined to R2.9billion.

Pieter Rautenbach


Friday, April 23, 2010

Industry News & Views

For those of you who do not subscribe, to give you an idea of what our newsletter is about, it always contains several articles pertaining to industry pertinent matters.

In Wednesday’s edition we extended an invitation encouraging Sub-Contractors and Service Providers to participate in the Excellence in Construction Awards Scheme. We then notified members of our bid to create and maintain higher levels of construction standards, particularly in matters concerning health and safety where non compliance could result in loss of life.

One of the most common questions we are asked is what the Association does to promote its members. In an article titled “Promoting Members” we went some way towards providing the answer, there are many opportunities for members to gain exposure that should be taken advantage of.

We also expressed opinions on joint ventures, labour broking, and advised Subcontractors on methods of Securing Payment. Then lastly, but definitely not least, we appealed to our readers to please donate blood (see previous blog post).

Don’t miss out, subscribe now by completing the subscribe prompts, down the left hand column on our home page.

Ernest Roper



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Critical Blood Shortage Donate Now!

It does not auger well to receive information about the critical shortage of blood experienced across the country. According to the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) there is currently less than one day’s blood supply in stock in KwaZulu-Natal.

Hospitals in the Province require 500 units of blood daily to meet the needs of patients requiring blood transfusions. In the past few days, the KwaZulu-Natal Province had to be sent blood from Gauteng as well as the Free State to meet shortages.

To face these shortages, SANBS in KwaZulu-Natal is appealing to the public to donate blood. For every unit of blood donated, three patients may be assisted. Blood is broken down into components red blood cells, platelets and plasma with patients receiving what they need.

With the FIFA 2010 World Cup looming, it is important that an adequate supply of blood be maintained for the duration of the tournament. It is estimated that as many as 450 000 fans from across the globe will attend this event. No fewer than 5 National Teams will have their training camps in the Province; this is in addition to the games that will be played at the Moses Mabhiba Stadium.

The Province is likely to experience a temporary population explosion for the duration of the tournament and could be found wanting in respect of the supply of blood should the situation not be rectified soon, and maintained throughout this important event.

An appeal is made to Members of the Association, as well as their employees, to DONATE BLOOD as soon as possible. Individuals between the ages of 16 and 65, who weigh more than 50 kilograms and lead a safe sexual lifestyle, are urged to become blood donors. Certain medical conditions are acceptable and these may be discussed with Staff of the SANBS.

Pieter Rautenbach


Monday, April 19, 2010

SABS Approved Green Friendly Plumbing Solutions

On Friday afternoon the Association attended a product launch at the Serbco Durban premises where we were introduced to their impressive range of green friendly plumbing solutions.

They had invited various industry stakeholders to celebrate with them, the handing over of their SABS certificate, and to allow for the opportunity to demonstrate the usability and durability of their innovative product spread.

They have a number of green friendly products on offer; however the one that stands out is a type of plastic piping which essentially serves as a cost effective alternative to copper piping. Using a specially designed heat tool, they gave a demonstration on how easy it is to create joints in it, and then demonstrated its strength by putting it in a vice and allowing us to try and break it.

They believe their product is superior to anything of its kind currently or previously on the market, and they back it up with various guarantees. On the face of it, it looks to be a superb product. For further information or to arrange a demonstration, contact Daniel on 031 569 5800.

Ernest Roper

Friday, April 16, 2010

There's Something Phishy Going On

Phishing .......

In case you wondering what Phishing is, the explanation given on the Nedbank Website is that its a type of identity theft, in which fraudsters pretend to represent legitimate institutions such as banks, in order to steal money from your account.

As a Nedbank client, I received the following e-mail yesterday which for obvious reasons I chose to ignore, for those who have never heard of Phishing, this is an excellent example of it.

"From: "Nedbank Limited (ZA)"
Thu, 15 Apr 2010 12:36:06 +0200
Customer Services : Your account additional security enhancements.!

Dear Valued Customer.

Additional security on our website bring unity and combined strength to our commitment to provide exceptional banking in South Africa, it's strongly required that you should Validate your logon and security Details.

Validate account login
(A Click through link on the original)

This email was sent to all bank customer to protect against internet phishing."

One can only but laugh at the audacity of including the byline “This email was sent to all bank customer to protect against internet phishing” A bank will NEVER ask you to authenticate details such as these online and if ever you receive an e-mail of this nature, it is safe to assume there's something Phishy going on.

Ernest Roper

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Militarising of Police Ranks

The Order of Precedence of Ranks In The South African Police Service

The Minister of Police has in terms of the South African Police Service Act amended the Regulations to provide for a number of new ranks in the Service with effect from 1 April 2010.

The ranks in order of precedence are as follows:

General (appointed as National Commissioner)
Lieutenant- General (appointed as Deputy National Commissioner)
Lieutenant-General (appointed as Divisional Commissioner)
Lieutenant-General (appointed as Provincial Commissioner)
Major- General
Warrant Officer

Bheki Cele believes that the militarising of police ranks will have a positive impact.

"There're no more inspectors. You can find inspectors at school and you'll find inspectors of water and all that, but not on the police force... and you will find senior superintendents in hospitals."

He is quoted as saying that changing ranks would bear fruit for officers that had been in the same position for years without promotion.

"It will push them up... promotions will take place."

Pieter Rautenbach


Monday, April 12, 2010

Treat It As Though You Are Paying For It.

I am amazed at the seemingly negative attitude that some members have towards our Find A Builder Programme. Perhaps when you are giving away something for free, the natural assumption is it has no value.

I have had several scheduled appointments where upon my arrival, I have discovered that the member had either completely forgotten about it, or they expected me and didn’t bother with any of the prep work. By that I mean having a company profile, 5 jpg images and a company logo ready and waiting.

There are various on-line directories pertaining to other sectors such as the hospitality industry, health spas, adventure activity and many more that are serving the same purpose for their respective industries, as is doing for ours. The difference being that many of them charge a monthly subscription fee upward of R300 per month for the privilege.

Ours is a FREE service we are providing to members, all we ask in return is that you please treat the process as though you were paying for it.

Ernest Roper


Friday, April 9, 2010

Elementary Economics - How Much Is A Trillion?

An editorial in “The Mercury” of 28 January 2010 under the heading” FREEZE IS A HOT IDEA” recorded aides to US President Barack Obama, announcing he would target the enormous Federal deficit. His budget would call for a three year freeze on so-called “non-security discretionary funding” which would result in $250 billion less than initially projected, being spent over the next ten years.

The editorial also noted that sceptics were concerned how small the proposed saving was in comparison to the $6 trillion USA Federal Government expected deficit. The laudable conclusion was reached that although the proposed cutback was a mere gesture, it would send the right signals that mild belt-tightening by the USA would not stall the recovery of the World Economy.

The well- known American writer Bill Bryson, who was a business newspaper Editor for many years, contends that sums as large as this are seldom appreciated and understood. Big numbers are completely beyond of what the average person is capable of grasping and they get confused when confronted with terms like billion and trillion. The American sense of billion (1,000,000,000) has almost completely supplanted the British sense(1,000,000,000,000) To complicate matters in South Africa, the term billion is a “miljaard”in Afrikaans.

Expressed in full numbers $6 trillion is $6 000 000 000 000 or at the current exchange rate represents R45 600 000 000 000 – but what does a trillion really represent?

Imagine you are in a vault with the whole of the USA`s Federal debt and invited to keep each dollar bill you can initial. Assuming you could initial one dollar bill each second and that you continued doing so without stopping. How long do you think it would take to accumulate a trillion dollars, Six months? Five years? If you were heard to say 10 years –then dream on!

It would take you 17 minutes to accumulate $1000 and 12 days of non-stop effort for your first million dollars. After slogging away for 32.7 years you will eventually become a billionaire. If you have aspirations of matching the wealth of Carlos Slim, Warren Buffett or Bill Gates you are going to have to initial those dollar bills for almost a thousand years and after 31 709.8 years you will be a trillionaire.

Now you know what a trillion is!

Pieter Rautenbach


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Images: King Shaka International Airport

King Shaka International Airport is situated at the site that was the old La Mercy microlite air strip, 35km north of Durban on KwaZulu Natal’s Dolphin Coast.

The passenger terminal is 19,500m² in size and will begin by housing 18 passenger aircraft stands, accommodating both domestic and international travelers. It is to have a capacity rate of 7.5 million passengers a year, before its already anticipated expansion.

The runway is set at 3,700m in length and is designed to contain New-Generation Large Aircraft including the A380 Airbus. Amenities for police, military, VIP, general aviation and aircraft maintenance hangers are also being catered for.

The finishing touches are all that remains and the cutover date from Durban’s current airport to the new airport, has been confirmed as Saturday 01 May 2010.

For more information regarding the changeover, read news article titled “King Shaka International Airport”.

Ernest Roper